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Connacht Tribune

Barrister Conor on home turf with new novel

Judy Murphy



Conor Bowman

Lifestyle – Conor Bowman is a man of many parts. The graduate of UCG and Cambridge University is a legal eagle, champion debater, singer and novelist. As he prepares to read from his latest book at Clifden Arts Festival, he tells JUDY MURPHY how this moving, humorous story, set in his home town of Galway is his most personal work of fiction yet.

Galway City man Conor Bowman who has a successful career as a Senior Counsel and writes novels in his spare time, doesn’t do social media or mobile phones. He does have email and if he wants to arrange to meet you, that’s how it’s done.

This approach of not clogging up his life with the minutiae of Instagrammers or Tweeters is working well for Conor who’ll be at Clifden Arts Festival on Monday, September 23, reading from his latest novel, Hughie Mitman’s Fear of Lawnmowers. Published by Hachette Ireland this beautifully written book charts young Hughie’s adventures as he is dealt a series of life-changing events.

Sometimes sad and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, it’s Conor’s sixth novel and could be described as a love letter to his native city.

The second in a two-book deal with Hachette, it follows his critically lauded Horace Winter Says Goodbye (2017).

Conor’s initial plan for his second book with Hachette had been to set it in Portugal with a rock star as its central character. But that didn’t chime with the publisher’s plans.

“They told me ‘we’re trying to build a brand in Ireland’ and that I was unusual in being a guy who writes books women like,” the barrister, who operates out of Dublin’s Law Library, explains.

So, Conor opted for Plan B.

For years, the UCG graduate had wanted to set a novel Galway – in fact, he completed a Young Adult novel ‘as Gaeilge’ about two decades ago, which won an award at the 2003 Oireachtas – but it has never been published.

Conor, the former Chair of UCG’s Lit and Deb Society and a champion debater, isn’t short of opinions about the state of Irish-language literature. The reason he decided to write his first book in Irish was partly due to what he felt was the snobbery attached to the language during his time at UCG. He studied it in first year and felt the attitude in some quarters wasn’t inclusive.

His aim, as a young rebel, was to write a modern Irish-language novel that would have broad appeal. Priest and novelist Pádraic Standún, whom he befriended in the 1980s, while studying Irish at Áras Uí Cadhain in Carraroe, supported him all the way.

“He said ‘if I can write books, you can write books’,” Conor recalls.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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Connacht Tribune

Influx of visitors heightens Covid fears

Dara Bradley



Saolta CEO Tony Canavan

Local health chiefs are planning for the worst case scenario of a second surge of Coronavirus brought on by domestic tourism – as ‘staycationers’ from parts of the country where the virus is more prevalent carry it into the west.

There has been just one new confirmed case of Covid-19 in Galway in the past week, and just a handful of new cases in the past several weeks.

But the authorities fear tourists from parts of the country more affected by the virus will result in an increase here during August and September.

There are also concerns that there are not enough beds in the public health system to cope with a resurgence of Covid-19 alongside regular winter hospital admissions.

Tony Canavan, CEO of Saolta, which manages public hospitals in the West, at the HSE West Regional Health Forum this week, said health workers are anxious that the deadly virus will spread to the West, as the reopening of society continues.

“There are concerns among those working in the health system associated with Government plans to reopen society and the economy, even though we know that is absolutely necessary and important for the well-being of the population as a whole.

“But the concerns we have relate to the greater movement of people whether it’s going to and from work, or going about their business, whether it’s attending the shops or entertainment events and so on, and that greater movement of people creates an environment where the risk of the spread of Covid-19 is increased.

“We’re particularly concerned in the West and North West, that there would be a level of movement of people associated with tourism at this time of year,” said Mr Canavan.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

Chanelle McCoy unveils her clinically proven cannabinoid cure

Stephen Corrigan



Chanelle McCoy (left) and Caroline Glynn with their new Pureis product line in Galway this week. Photos: Joe O'Shaughnessy.

The usage of CBD food supplements to treat a whole raft of illnesses and conditions in recent years has given rise to concern that many of the products currently on the market are being sold to consumers without any clinical trials to verify their safety.

It was the rise in demand for these products that first caught the attention of well-known Loughrea business woman Chanelle McCoy who this week, together with her business partner and fellow Galwegian Caroline Glynn, launched the first CBD product on the Irish market that has been clinically proven to be safe – Pureis.

Chanelle, whose family business Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea has a proven track record in the medical world, stepped back from that venture five years ago to focus on her own Chanelle McCoy Health.

“My family business in Chanelle Pharma in Loughrea and so I’ve worked there for about 18 years. When I joined the business, it was a veterinary business and my father and I co-founded the medical side of the business. Then I was lucky to have the opportunity to lead that medical business over the last 18 years with a great team and with Caroline working with me,” says Chanelle of the beginning of her working relationship with Caroline.

“We bought the medical business into 96 countries around the world and we got over 2,500 product licences granted across those 96 countries. We would be looking at products in terms of what to put into the R&D pipeline and I started looking at CBD back in 2015, probably inspired a bit by Vera Twomey and the inability for moms like her to access good quality CBD products for kids like Ava,” she says, explaining that Cork woman Vera Twomey’s plight to secure cannabidiol treatment for her daughter’s epilepsy was a real eye-opener.

Read the full feature in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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Connacht Tribune

State can’t leave Galway addiction services in limbo

Dara Bradley



Any further delay in setting up an alcohol addiction treatment service in Galway City will result in more deaths, including suicides, of problem drinkers – and cause ‘total devastation’ to local families, addiction experts have warned.

Addiction Counsellors of Ireland (ACI) has demanded that the Health Service Executive (HSE) immediately establishes an alcohol treatment service in the city.

The professional body which accredits counsellors claims that GPs in Galway are ‘flooded’ with drink-related patients, and the Emergency Department ‘can’t cope’ with the level of alcohol admissions.

It said the long-awaited alcohol addiction treatment service planned for the city would save lives and save tens of thousands of euro on alcohol-related emergency admissions at University Hospital Galway.

Some €470,000 a year funding for the service was announced by the previous Government last December; and a commitment for the service was contained in the Programme for Government agreed by Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael and Green Party.

This week, Galway West TD Hildegarde Naughton, a Minister of State in the new administration, confirmed that some €225,000 for the service from now to Christmas, is available in the 2020 HSE budget to get the service up and running.

Local addiction counsellors have now demanded that the HSE urgently hire the staff, and source a building, to roll out the alcohol addiction service, which has been absent for the past seven years.

Read the full story in this week’s Connacht Tribune, on sale in shops now. You can also add the paper to your online grocery delivery; you can purchase a digital edition here, or you can have it delivered at no extra charge by An Post; full details are on this website.

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